“Tears of a Clown” © Edward Michael Supranowicz


An Ugly Person’s Love Letter to Mandatory Facial Coverings

Every complaint made by those who still refuse to wear a mask lacks any intelligence or reason; I read them, nod, and go, “Okay, so you are selfish. I see.” Occasionally, worse: They are a selfish conspiracy theorist. The exception, obviously, are those with a legitimate medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, but they do not appear to be the ones posting essay-length rants that lack any punctuation about their dilemma.

I saw a friend sharing a meme saying that any man who “struggles” to breathe in a mask is admitting to the public that they have never gone down on a woman long enough for her to get off — I am sure you have seen it if you are friends on Facebook with your newly divorced aunt who often drinks a six-pack of wine coolers in a night. It’s a funny take on the fools who are expediting the end of humanity and if we are not laughing, we are crying — there’s no in between these days. Someone had to rain on the parade because the past four months haven’t been a sempiternal assembly line of horrific news for the entire population, just them. Everything is hard for only them; who are we to laugh as they cry?

“Well, thankfully I don’t take thirteen hours in the bedroom, which is how long my husband has to wear his mask everyday. He is suffering. These mask-shaming posts irritate me,” said the fun-spoiler.

My friend, who finally garnered civility after birthing five children (if that is the secret, then I am going to be rude forever), responded with, “I am grateful that mine doesn’t have to wear one in his line of work or he would be right there with yours. I didn’t intend to shame you. I just thought this was funny!”

Haven’t we reached the point where it is acceptable to admit that we are, indeed, shaming these detriments? Whatever; I read on.

She whined about how her husband cannot breathe for over twelve hours a day just so her family (three kids, I checked) aren’t living on the streets. She said she has been struggling to feed them because she cannot afford to order $40+ worth of takeout or delivery everyday and she is prohibited to enter the grocery store without a mask, which she refuses to wear. This exchange reminded of some theory Charles Darwin proposed some couple hundred years ago… I couldn’t help but chime in.

“Girl, I think if my options were to let my children starve to death or wear a mask for 30 minutes, I’d put on the mask and go buy some Chef Boyardee,” but my friend deleted her, denying me the thrill of making someone upset on the Internet on the Fourth of July, as if I needed any further proof that our country sucks.

Personally, I find great comfort in being unrecognizable to the world when I go out without makeup, sporting my glasses and mask. I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking I was ugly. The only activity that rivals the amount of time I wasted believing that is the hours I sat hunched in front of a mirror, meticulously correcting my mistake of a face with layers of products, only to feel like a liar who tricked the world with a seamless disguise. The mandatory mask law has been a godsend to mental health cases like me! Now, I am not only saving the life of every person at the gas station by wearing one, but myself a whole lot of time! I’d even quit plucking my chin hairs if I hadn’t instructed my loved ones to immediately phone the suicide hotline if I am ever spotted with a full beard! Protestors have remained anonymous and undetectable by authorities while standing up to centuries of injustices! Men have quit breaking their necks to gawk at those of us who lack any physical “assets” because there ain’t nothing to see! I might be able to attend another concert before I die! I am keeping your great-grandmother, who still insists on shopping for herself until she inevitably slips on a single droplet of water and breaks her hip, alive! How can such a large portion of the country be so obstinate to deny the endless pros of a face covering? Don’t answer that in great detail or else I won’t want to get out of bed tomorrow.

Just today, I was shopping for condensed soup, one-ply toilet paper, pints of Miller Lite, and Alka-Seltzer: my essentials. I saw my former manager, who was fired once for sexual deviancy, mercifully given another chance, and disposed of a second time for still being an unsalvageable whore, and my immediate reaction was to scream his name as I ran up to hug him. Considering that this man proved to be an even greater disappointment than my own father, I may eventually pen a sixteen-page dissertation on what unresolved emotional trauma led me to react like a friendly buffoon at the sight of him…

Thanks to my new government-ordered disguise, it took him 30 seconds to recognize me, which was, unfortunately for the both of us, ample time for me to regret ever acknowledging him.

“Your…your hair is blue!” He stuttered. “I didn’t realize it was you!”

My hair wasn’t blue when he was fired. I appreciated that he was generous and shrewd enough to think of a polite reason for not recognizing me, besides my disheveled appearance, until he texted me, asking if I would like to catch up over drinks sometime. Another advantage of this pandemic is that most bars still have their seats removed, it is encouraged to decline invitations for social interaction in public, and recluses are praised as model, responsible citizens. An advantage of his disgustingly prurient antics is that he cannot propose a private meeting because I would never welcome him into my home and I assume his wife still resides at his.

I still responded to him, though: I am very unemployed, and that’s one guaranteed book sale whenever my next one comes out.


Rose Damian is from Richmond, Virginia. She recently self-published my first collection of short, nonfiction, comedic essays titled To All the Men Who Called Me “Disgusting,” recounting some of her most hilarious romantic misadventures she has put herself through in her 26 years. Follow her on Instagram.

Edward Michael Supranowicz has had artwork and poems published in the US and other countries. Both sides of his family worked in the coalmines and steel mills of Appalachia.